When you are planning out an event there are a lot of decisions to be made and a lot of balls to be juggled. Do I get it catered or try to make the food myself. What time should the food be served, all at once or rolling out? What types of decorations will I be doing? Should I buy it from a store, should I DIY? Will there be entertainment? When will the guests arrive? How much is this all going to cost me?
With all these questions swimming in your head it can become overwhelming. While I may not be able to help you with all of those questions for your event, hopefully I can help you plan out one aspect. ***
Should I hire a photographer?
If you are going through all of this planning and execution for an event, you are going to want some photographic coverage of it. You will be running around hosting things and making sure everything is just so. The chances of you remembering where you put your camera last after you made sure the drinks were getting refilled are small. Do not plan on yourself to be the photographer.
Can I afford a quality photographer in my budget?
Plan out your ideal amount to spend on a photographer first. I would do some research into what the average going rate is for a non-wedding event coverage so you can find a realistic number. But, the best piece of advice I can give to you is not to sacrifice quality for quantity. Having a photographer whose style and end result you love for less time is so much more valuable than a budget photographer for a full 4 hour event that you end up unhappy with the results. Which brings me to my next question.
When should I have the photographer for/how long?
Unless you are planning a surprise party, there really is no need to have a photographer arrive at the start time of the event. You probably will not need them all the way until the end as well. Use this to your budget’s advantage.
From my experience throwing parties and photographing parties, less than 50% of the guests show up at the time listed on the invitation. I have been hired on a few occasions to cover an hour or two of an event and was hired to start when the party started. I showed up on time, but that was also when the hosts had just shown up. I have spent 30 -45 minutes of my contracted time on helping decorate in those cases because no one else was there either. I was more than happy to help with the set up, but I do not think that is what my clients were aiming for when they hired me.
Other things to consider:
If it is a kids’ birthday party, will they be there right at the start? If the guest of honor will be napping, plan the photographer accordingly.
When will food be served? Typically, people are not fond of photos of themselves eating. If it is a light snacks and drinks the whole time, don’t worry about this. If there is a sit down meal portion, think about having the photographer right before or right after.
You know your friends and family and guest list, so in the end go by what you know.
Should I have a photo booth?
Sure! I will post tips and tricks to DIY photo booths in an upcoming blog. I am typically a fan of candid party shots. I like to really capture people having fun without feeling like they have to pose. But, a Photo booth/station can ensure you get specific group or guest photos.
***Hopefully this goes without saying, these tips are not relevant to planning out your wedding photography. It would be a shame if your photographer came an hour into the wedding since most ceremonies are over within 30 minutes.